For The Record: Quick News On Mary J. Blige, Swizz Beatz, Mya, Tom Hanks, Korn, Marc Anthony, Kurt Vonnegut & More

Blige looks out for young fans; Swizz, Mya headline magazine party; Hanks in 'Da Vinci Code' prequel negotiations.

Mary J. Blige knows that her audience has changed in the 15 years since she released her debut album, and she’s stepping up to the challenge. “My fans have children now that know me and love me the way my fans do,” Blige said in the May issue of Redbook, which hits newsstands Tuesday. The singer, who is a stepmother to husband Kendu Isaac’s three children, recalled a young girl who was “so nervous and shaking and she started crying” when she saw Blige. “I met one of my fan’s daughters after a show, and her father was like, ’She really, really loves you.’ … And I said, ’Well, you know what that means. That means I have a whole other responsibility.’ ” …

DMX was hit with bench warrants by judges in two cities in New York on Wednesday for failing to show up to court for traffic cases. According to The Associated Press, even Murray Richman, the rapper’s lawyer, doesn’t know where X is — or why he didn’t make the trip from his home in Arizona to White Plains and Yonkers to face the charges. “He said he missed a flight,” Richman said. “He’s always missing flights.” DMX had already skipped the Tuesday White Plains date — which was for June charges of speeding, changing lanes dangerously, driving without a seat belt and with a suspended license — but the judge granted him an extra day to show up. He was due in a Yonkers court to face an October charge of driving with a suspended license. …

Swizz Beatz and Mya headlined a Giant magazine showcase Wednesday night at Cielo in New York. Nina Sky, “Wire” actor Hassan Johnson and Mashonda took in the festivities, which were helmed by DJ S&S. …

Tom Hanks is in final negotiations to reprise his role as symbologist Robert Langdon in “Angels & Demons,” a prequel to the worldwide blockbuster “The Da Vinci Code,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Also written by Dan Brown, “Angels & Demons” centers on Langdon’s search for a canister of antimatter hidden by the Illuminati to destroy Vatican City. Director Ron Howard is also in final negotiations to return for the flick, which is set to be released December 19, 2008. …

Korn’s temporary kitman Terry Bozzio has ended his involvement with the band after supplying the drum parts for Korn’s upcoming, still-untitled LP. For now, it remains unclear just who’ll be handling drum duty during Korn’s upcoming tour, with original drummer David Silveria still on “hiatus.” … Marc Anthony is about to write the IRS a huge check. Turns out the Latin singer forgot to file tax returns from 2000 through 2004 on more than $15 million in income, so he’s agreed to pay close to $2.5 million in back taxes, interest and penalties to correct the oversight, according to an AP story. The Manhattan District Attorney declined to prosecute Anthony because a professional accountant prepared his tax returns and the singer apparently thought the returns had been filed. Two of Anthony’s business associates have pleaded guilty to tax felonies and are facing stiff fines. …

Static-X canceled their Dallas gig Wednesday night as drummer Nick Oshiro recovers from a broken hand. In a message on the band’s MySpace page, frontman Wayne Static said “we’ll come back through as soon as we can,” adding that “Nick is doing OK, although he’s more than a little bummed that he’s going to have to take a break from the tour.” Static-X will be flying a temporary drummer in for the band’s gig Friday in Houston, “with Nick re-joining the tour as soon as his cast comes off.” …

Novelist Kurt Vonnegut, a counterculture icon whose darkly comic novels became American classics, died on Wednesday in Manhattan at age 84 after brain injuries suffered during a fall several weeks ago, The New York Times reported. Vonnegut was best known for his biting 1969 anti-war novel “Slaughterhouse-Five,” which detailed his experience as a prisoner of war during the firebombing of Dresden, Germany, in World War II and resonated with many young Americans who were against the Vietnam War. Through countless essays, plays, short fiction and 14 novels such as “Cat’s Cradle” and “God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater,” Vonnegut used pessimistic humor, science fiction, philosophy, creative punctuation and sentence structure and a treasure trove of made-up religions, alternate human races and metaphysical phenomena to describe and comment on the human condition and our perilous place in the universe. …

Heather Locklear and Richie Sambora finalized their divorce Thursday (April 12), AP reports. Custody of their daughter Ava, visitation rights and spousal support will be ordered in a proposed judgment that is being kept private. … A federal judge has ruled that Collier County sheriff’s deputies did not use excessive force in restraining Rush guitarist Alex Lifeson at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples, Florida, in 2003, The Naples Daily News reports. The decision deals a blow to civil claims brought against the police by Lifeson and his son, Justin, who allege that deputies violated their civil rights with excessive force as well as “illegal detention.” Lifeson and his son were charged with battery, resisting an officer with violence, and disorderly intoxication in connection with the incident, and last year accepted a deal offered by prosecutors, pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest without violence. They were sentenced to 12 months probation. …

The Beatles’ Apple Corps has settled a long-running $59 million royalty dispute with the EMI Group in a deal that experts predict could pave the way for the Beatles’ music to finally be sold online. According to a Reuters report, no terms were announced in the March settlement, which came after the company representing the Beatles announced in December 2005 that it was suing EMI after negotiations over the nearly $60 million in unpaid royalties broke down. The new deal leaves EMI and Apple Corps open to negotiate a new royalty plan that could include download sales. … Actor Roscoe Lee Browne has died after a long battle with cancer, AP reports. He was 81. Browne won an Emmy Award for his guest role as Professor Foster on “The Cosby Show,” and he narrated the movie “Babe.”

04.11.2007

Snoop Dogg entered a no-contest plea on Wednesday to the felony charges brought against him for sale or transportation of marijuana and illegal possession of a firearm. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and will be required to perform 800 hours of community service; a three-year state prison sentence was suspended. The charges stem from the rapper’s October arrest at the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, California. “Snoop accepts full responsibility for these matters,” his attorney, Donald Etra, said in a statement. “He understands that, while he has every reason to seek security and protection, he cannot have a gun in his own vehicle, and he must only employ licensed security personnel. By the same token, although Snoop possesses a medical marijuana certificate, he recognizes he cannot possess more marijuana than permitted by that law. This was an expedited way of resolving these matters,” Etra’s statement continued. “It permits Snoop to get back to what he does best, namely, entertaining his fans through his music and films as well as serving his community as coach of his 2,000-member youth football league.” …

Zack de la Rocha will reunite with Tom Morello on Saturday — two weeks before Rage Against the Machine’s reunion gig at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival later this month. De la Rocha and Morello will perform together in Chicago as part of the 2007 Coalition of Immokalee Workers Truth Tour. The two will participate in a parade that will make its way through downtown Chicago and return to the city’s Federal Plaza for a celebratory rally. …

Jennifer Lopez stuck up for one of her “American Idol” students on Wednesday (April 11), saying that Simon Cowell’s assessment of contestant Haley Scarnato was “brutal” during an interview on Ryan Seacrest’s Los Angeles radio show. After Scarnato’s Tuesday night performance, Cowell said the contestant’s revealing outfit was a smart way to win votes. “I don’t think that’s what she’s doing,” Lopez said. … Proof’s life is set to premiere on the big screen one year after the D12 rapper was killed. A documentary called “Time-A-Tell,” which provides a look at Detroit’s hip-hop scene, will include footage of the rapper in the studio as he worked on new music. “Time-A-Tell” is set to premiere Thursday at 8 p.m. in the GM Theater Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum. …

The White Stripes have announced additional details about their upcoming Icky Thump album, due June 19. By now, you’re already aware of the track list and the upcoming tour surrounding the disc, but did you know that the cover of Thump features a black-and-white photo of Jack and Meg White dressed as a Pearly King and Queen? For those not in the know — which is roughly 98 percent of you — Pearlies are Englishmen and women who dress in traditional cockney costumes, covered in mother-of-pearl beads. It’s a manner of dress that dates all the way back to the late 19th century, when street merchants would sew pearls onto their clothing, and it only further expands the Stripes’ growing Anglo obsession — the album’s title is a play on the Yorkshire slang term “by ecky thump,” which is used to express surprise — though that doesn’t make it any less confounding. Oh, and also, Thump will apparently feature a song called “I’m Slowly Turning Into You,” which, as a Stripes press release tells us, “may be the first song ever written based on a video treatment … this one is inspired by Michel Gondry.” …

Avril Lavigne will return to “Saturday Night Live” as a musical guest for the third time on Saturday’s episode, which will be hosted by Shia LaBeouf. Björk is also heading for an “SNL” third — she’s performed once with the Sugarcubes and once solo — on April 21, when Scarlett Johansson will host the show for a second time. … Paris Hilton told “Extra” that rekindling her friendship with Nicole Richie was as simple as dialing a number. “It was Nicole’s birthday and I really missed her, and I just decided to pick up the phone and call her,” Hilton said. “We just got together that night, and it was like there was never anything that happened.” Despite their very public falling-out, Richie agreed that the two just picked up where they’d left off. “It was weird,” she said. “like we had seen each other yesterday.” …

Guns N’ Roses have postponed the start of their world tour, set to launch Saturday in Japan, due to an injury suffered by bassist Tommy Stinson. “I accidentally fell down a flight of stairs,” he explained in a statement. “I put my hand down to break my fall and heard a loud ’pop.’ The next morning my hand looked like a balloon. I went to see my doctor and while the good news is that it’s not broken, the bad is news is it’s severely sprained and I may have done some ligament damage.” The band plans to reschedule whatever gigs they miss due to Stinson’s ailment. … In a March 26 decision made public this week, a New York State justice denied Janet Jackson’s request to dismiss a $120 million suit filed against her and New York’s Club Marquee after a February 2004 incident at the venue. Plaintiff Leonard Salati claims that he was assaulted at the nightclub by two men that he believed to be bodyguards for Jackson and Jermaine Dupri. New York Supreme Court Justice Rolando T. Acosta’s decision also specifies that Jackson will be ordered to answer questions about the incident under oath, noting that the court “grants no exemptions for celebrity status.” …

After decades of shielding their private lives, the Jackson family is getting into the reality TV business, according to Variety. Unfortunately for nosy fans, the show in question isn’t a tell-all, but an “American Idol”-style singing competition and instead of Michael and Janet Jackson sitting on the judges’ panel, it will be siblings Jermaine, Tito and LaToya. The “Pop Dynasty” show will search for a new superstar singing family along the lines of the Jacksons, with segments that will explore the personal dynamics of the contestants sibling relationships. … Willa Ford has been cast as Anna Nicole Smith in the independent film “Anna Nicole,” Variety reports. The biopic is scheduled to begin filming next week. …

Germs drummer Don Boles, who was jailed last week after police detected drugs in a bottle of soap found in his car during a traffic stop in Newport Beach, California, now has the soap manufacturer in his corner. The Los Angeles Times reports that Boles, who was pulled over for a broken taillight, was arrested on suspicion of felony narcotics possession after a field test detected date-rape drug GHB in the contents of a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap. Executives at Dr. Bronner’s hired an attorney to represent Boles on Monday. Company president David Bronner said that because the soap contains hemp oil, a test may detect THC (the active ingredient in marijuana), but called evidence of GHB “beyond belief,” speculating that the test “must have been flawed or tampered with.” Bronner said he does not believe that Boles was using the soap to carry the drug because the drummer would be foolish to lie about that when the Orange County Crime Lab is doing a definitive test of the bottle’s contents.